Letters to the Editor

Missouri vote

August 8, 2010

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To the editor:

The recent Missouri referendum on Health Care Reform had all the characteristics of a “push poll” (a question designed to produce the desired answer). It is not surprising that 71 percent of Missouri voters did not want the government to require the purchase of health insurance. Who wants the government telling them what to do?

However, if you asked those same people whether they thought health insurers should be prohibited from discriminating against people with pre-existing medical conditions by refusing them insurance or rescinding their insurance after they got sick, most would answer yes. Unfortunately, you can’t have one without the other.

If the government mandated guaranteed insurability without mandating participation, many people would simply wait until they got sick to buy insurance. That would be like allowing individuals to buy automobile insurance to cover a wreck they already had. The premiums would be horrendous.

Most of us are optimistic by nature. We don’t really believe bad things will happen to us. In truth, any one of us could someday be faced with unemployment and a family member with cancer making us uninsurable. Over 70 percent of U.S. bankruptcies involve crushing health care costs.

The individual health insurance mandate was originally a Republican idea (back when they had ideas) conceived to get to universal coverage without national health insurance, and it is a necessary idea. We simply cannot have the blessing of guaranteed coverage without the “evil” of mandated participation, and no political stunt can change that fact.

Comments

TheOriginalCA 4 years, 9 months ago

Except for the cheap shot on Republicans, that was a very well written and well put letter. The problem is, this Missouri vote was not a vote against healthcare. It was instead a message to the government telling them that they will fail at running healthcare so why fund something if they can't deliver the goods as promised? The government fails at 99.9% of what they do.

Boston_Corbett 4 years, 9 months ago

Someday, I hope Liberty One and maybe 19,999 fellow libertarian believers would move to a common location and all live together.

Especially if we could watch, this experience in reality TV would be highly entertaining.

parrothead8 4 years, 9 months ago

Which is why they voted for Obama in 2008.

Jimo 4 years, 9 months ago

Government fails about as often as private enterprise does.

We live in an era where business failures are everywhere we look and are massive in scope and consequence - and where business leaders loot the enterprises to pay themselves hundreds of millions for the privilege of their incompetence.

Most of what you take to be failures of government are really failures of our political system, which perhaps has reached the point of collapse, and our own electorate, ever incoherent between ends and means. "Keep government out of my Medicare!" "Tax cuts pay for themselves!" "We can succeed in Afghanistan so we can leave if we just stay another decade!"

jafs 4 years, 9 months ago

It is when the private businesses go begging for bailouts from the government.

jafs 4 years, 9 months ago

When private businesses go begging the government for handouts, it indicates that they are not willing to live with the consequences of their poor decisions.

Jimo 4 years, 9 months ago

"But in the private sector when you fail your business goes under."

No it doesn't. It takes it's money, bribes politicians, and the public socializes the losses. Please try to keep up.

Jimo 4 years, 9 months ago

Sorry, no one is fooled by trying to define away the problem, Liberty Jefferson Clinton.

Jimo 4 years, 9 months ago

"If the SEC fails to catch pyramid schemes it's not because it's woefully run but because it needs MORE power and rules to enforce."

Or because politicians, with an ideological faith that gov't must fail and a strong financial incentive to drink the Koolaid that free enterprise operates efficiently and perfectly, undermine the ability of the SEC to do its job at every turn.

Honestly, I just watched Congressman Boehn-head on TV this morning moaning about how the gov't failed to keep BP from screwing up their oil well as if the GOP had not spent a decade ruthlessly undermining every regulation and preventing any new regulations from being put to work.

Jimo 4 years, 9 months ago

False choice. Seriously, this is the best you've got, gov't failure 99.9% of the time or gov't solutions to every problem.

We've tried it your way. Disaster after disaster has been the result. I'm sure you'll explain how "they" didn't dot-the-I's the way YOU would have. Jeez, you sound just like some washed up Marxist who insists that communism has never really been tried the right way, the way that would work!

akuna 4 years, 9 months ago

Ah, for the love of over-the-top hyperbole. If the government fails at 99.9% of what it does, we wouldn't be anywhere near where we are today.

Jimo 4 years, 9 months ago

If gov't failed at 99.9% of everything, we'd have gone ka-boom a long time ago.

Boston_Corbett 4 years, 9 months ago

Utopian schemes?

Someday, I hope Liberty One and maybe 19,999 fellow libertarian believers would move to a common location and all live together.

Especially if we could watch, this experience in reality TV would be highly entertaining.

Boston_Corbett 4 years, 9 months ago

you are clueless. you also sound like a student. move there.

cato_the_elder 4 years, 9 months ago

Good to see that the Missouri voters' clear mandate bothered Bruner enough to write the newspaper. One of his pet projects is fast biting the dust, and it's entertaining to watch his reaction.

independant1 4 years, 9 months ago

Nothing will upset a state economic condition like a legislature. It’s better to have termites in your house than the legislature. (Will Rogers)

Boston_Corbett 4 years, 9 months ago

Someday, I hope Liberty One and maybe 19,999 fellow libertarian believers would move to a common location and all live together.

Especially if we could watch, this experience in reality TV would be highly entertaining.

Eileen Jones 4 years, 9 months ago

The economy failed because for years and years jobs were shipped overseas, the wealthiest got tax breaks, 60% of corporations pay ZERO in taxes, corporations avoid paying taxes by having offices offshore, and the Bush administration borrowed money to pay for expensive, interminable wars.

Republicans broke the economy. Democrats are stuck with the job of fixing it and I think it's impossible - too far gone.

notajayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

The jobs that got shipped overseas were going to be lost anyway, to automation or in businesses closing. Get over it.

Everyone got tax breaks, and at about the same percentage. The rich got more back because they pay more. Get over that, too. Not to mention, tax revenue increased with the tax cuts. The problems were caused by over-spending, not under-taxing.

Over 40% of tax return filers have a negative effective tax rate - i.e., they get back more than they paid in. That doesn't even include those who don't owe any taxes to begin with and don't file.

Maybe you haven't been paying attention, but Obama is still spending money on those wars.

Sorry for interrupting - please continue with your rant.

BigPrune 4 years, 9 months ago

Does the good doctor work for free, and if he doesn't, why not?

When the new government health insurance kicks in I wonder how many hundreds of patients crowd the good doctor's office every morning?

parrothead8 4 years, 9 months ago

It's funny how, no matter who gets elected President, there's always some group of people planning to move to Europe or Canada or "somewhere else" because of how catastrophic they think the new President's policies are going to be.

independant1 4 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, let's let the government run it and dumb it down to gov't healthcare program. It'll probably work about as good as the great society welfare program. So we can add endemic healthcare dependancy and fraud on top of welfare dependancy and fraud. Won't need any individual responsibility, only some of the animals on the farm are more equal than others.

Scott Drummond 4 years, 9 months ago

While there have certainly been some unintended unfavorable consequences of the Great Society programs, they have been largely successful in reducing the human suffering of poverty among the old, poor and unfavored in our society.

Scott Drummond 4 years, 9 months ago

I received an education before the right wingers started dismantling the free public education system and before they gained control of the nation's media. Consequently, I am able to understand history and strong enough intellectually not to be swayed by the constant propaganda of our times.

From 1963 until 1970 the percentage of Americans living below the poverty line dropped from 22.2% to 12.6%.

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/1999/9910.califano.html

independant1 4 years, 9 months ago

Out of wedlock babies and single parent familys soared astronomically!

independant1 4 years, 9 months ago

scott, here and now - black female unemployment is at 12.9%. Black females are 52% of primary wage earners in black community (nationally women = 39% of total pop. primary wage earners). Black unemployment overall = 16%, black teenager unemployment 41%

Jimo 4 years, 9 months ago

It is unclear why a primary for an off-year election where the only competitive races were on the Republican side (which I am assuming is the core of Mad-Obama disease) would tell us any more about what Missourians think of the topic than French Fries tell us something about the French.

I can't afford to keep paying for these people who refuse to provide for their own health care costs. I'm done with people pocketing money that should be buying insurance but relying upon my piggy bank when they lose their bet of perpetual health. So, yes, tax everyone for their burden on the public purse and exempt those who demonstrate that they've made private provision for this cost by buying insurance.

Scott Drummond 4 years, 9 months ago

May I please opt out of current system with a profit/lobbying/exhorbinant executive salary-free public option?

tomatogrower 4 years, 9 months ago

Liberty talks big, but if he or his family were ever hit with a major illness and lost everything, he would be running for help. He wouldn't just go away and die, like many of these anti health care people seem to want unhealthy people to do. They think that because they go to the gym, eat right, and presently have good health, that it would never happen to them. I've seen very healthy people get devastated with cancer. But I guess we're suppose to just kick them to the curb, according to Liberty and many people in Missouri.

Jimo 4 years, 9 months ago

Opt out of buying insurance or making me pay for your expenses?

Yes, it's called a one-way ticket to Somalia.

Jimo 4 years, 9 months ago

Yep, break the law and you'll go to prison; try to escape and you'll be shot. The Fundamental Rule of Non-Anarchy by which every government that ever was and ever will be operates under.

Someone is supposed to be shedding a tear for your criminal, anti-social proclivities?

notajayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

Your comment speaks volumes about your own values and beliefs, jimmie, as it does for all the others who try to use that argument. Your belief that people who don't carry health insurance won't pay their own bills is a reflection of your own attitudes, and it doesn't speak very highly of you.

Jimo 4 years, 9 months ago

Pure undiluted dishonesty about an incontrovertible fact that no one disputes (except you apparently). One of the few points that everyone agrees upon and you're actually going to lose all credibility (however minuscule) trying to claim otherwise. Wow. Freakin wow!

notajayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

Got anything to back that up, jimmie-boy?

What?

No?

Gee, I'm shocked. You're one of those who believes that the uninsured over-utilize emergency rooms, aren't you?

I don't have insurance, jimmie. I pay my bills. I know plenty of people who do. What you call an "incontrovertible" fact is nothing more than a reflection of your own belief system, i.e. since you are a freeloader, you expect everyone else to be.

Jimo 4 years, 9 months ago

Please, don't piss on my leg and call it pure rainwater.

notajayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

You wouldn't know the difference. Look it up for yourself, jimmie-boy. Start with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and see what their research has to say about who uses ER services. Guess what - it's not the uninsured. But don't let little things like facts get in the way of you making a fool of yourself.

Stu Clark 4 years, 9 months ago

"The government fails at 99.9% of what they do." would be an amazingly ludicrous statement even if it were restated with the gammar corrected. Either this person has a ridiculously low bar for the definition of failure, is apallingly ignorant or is simply lying in hopes of guiding his readers toward the virtues of anarchy.

notajayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

Then there's the Post Office.

It always amazes me how the same people who complain incessantly about the waste and outright fraud in such things as military procurement, the ineptitude in disaster response such as that after Katrina, the crumbling road system, etc., etc., etc., can think "Oh, but I'm sure they'll do a spiffy job with healthcare!"

Stu Clark 4 years, 9 months ago

OK, but don't forget to add the wars in Iraq and Afganistan. Actually, the Post Office does a great job delivering mail daily to every househod in the country. No private entity would want that job. Apollo deniers notwithstanding, the manned space program faltered when the focus of the prople changed, not because of gov't ineptitude. The federal highway and the air traffic control systems have allowed huge increases in our capability to move people and goods. Etc.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 9 months ago

The problem with your utopia, like all utopias, is that it has never existed anywhere, ever. And aside from theoretical fantasy worlds, there's no reason to believe that there is any way to get there from here. The libertarian movement is more likely to return us to some form of neo-feudalism than anything else simply because it could easily be co-opted by the same corrupt status quo that currently infects our government.

Like it or not, we're always going to need government because with 7 billion people and counting, a libertarian utopia just ain't possible. We are by nature pack animals, so some level of socialism is unavoidable. But that doesn't mean it can't or shouldn't be greatly tempered with libertarian ideals.

notajayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

"The problem with your utopia, like all utopias, is that it has never existed anywhere, ever."

And your Marxist Utopia, Herr Klowne - how did that turn out?

notajayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

"Actually, the Post Office does a great job delivering mail daily to every househod in the country."

And they only lost what, $3.5 billion last quarter, and are in danger of defaulting on their retirement payments? I believe that was the point Liberty made earlier - if they were a private company, they would have gone under years ago. Government agencies can just keep failing over and over and over again.

"Apollo deniers notwithstanding, the manned space program faltered when the focus of the prople changed, not because of gov't ineptitude."

Now if only they could make an 'O' ring.

"The federal highway and the air traffic control systems have allowed huge increases in our capability to move people and goods."

Of course, it took breaking the union to make the air traffic controller system affordable, and as for the roads, who cares if the occasional bridge collapses, right?

rse1979 4 years, 9 months ago

Pretty poor argument, considering both of those were publicly traded (i.e. not government run) when they got into so much trouble.

notajayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

"However, if you asked those same people whether they thought health insurers should be prohibited from discriminating against people with pre-existing medical conditions by refusing them insurance or rescinding their insurance after they got sick, most would answer yes."

Gee, and THAT wouldn't be 'pushing' the question. This is part of the problem, doctor. When you write 2600+ pages of convoluted garbage, as the Democrats did, there are always going to be parts that nobody wants.

[sigh] What a surprise. Yet another letter from our dear Dr. Bruner trying desperately to make sure the nanny state forces a system where people can pay his fees. Dr. Bruner, YOU are the problem with healthcare costs, the problem isn't finding a better way to make sure you make enough money.

independant1 4 years, 9 months ago

I had a fender bender yesterday, I'm going to get me some auto insurance first thing Monday. I'll get full coverage so I can get my car fixed too.

notajayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

Actually, there'd be nothing wrong with that - IF the insurance company was allowed to charge you enough to cover the cost of your repairs. Of course, that might defeat the purpose somewhat ...

HaRDNoK9 4 years, 9 months ago

The people "who favor Obama by 90% no matter what he does" ARE the "far-left loons" regardless of the color of their skin are they not? Or are you saying that 90% of blacks favor Obama no matter what he does?

It is my contention that this is the type of downward spiral thinking that it all REALLY boils down to.

Kirk Larson 4 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, right. There's never been any waste in the military (can you say $500 hammer). And no corruption in the BIA. Did you just wake up or what?

Shelley Bock 4 years, 9 months ago

Simple solution which I don't like, but here's food for thought. I have no idea if would work.

Some of you don't want to be "forced" to pay for your insurance coverage. Fine, no problem. Opt out...forever, for your lifetime.

Make the decision to be in or out of the program, but there will be no chance to get in at any future date. Sure, it's a tough decision at 18 or 21, but you want to do it on your own and since you want nothing to do with the government system, go for it.

Irrevocable, final decision. Once you opt out, you can't ever get back into the program. You won't have to worry about paying into this program, you can make your own decisions. But, if your resources fail, you have a serious injury that prevents you from working, are in a significant car crash with complications, that's your worry.

You don't like "bail-outs" so go on your own. Hopefully, you'll have the funds in the bank to cover your costs. Or maybe you can purchase health insurance. Go for it. But, don't look at others for help some day. Just say "No" and off you go. But, never, ever get into the "Obamacare" as you describe it.

Do you really feel so lucky?

notajayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

1) Most of us have already been paying into the system. Those payments were taken and spent on other things.

2) At its very heart, 'feeling lucky' is what the entire concept of insurance is all about. If you believe the odds are against incurring large expenses, you don't buy insurance. If you feel you're likely to incur those expenses, you do. The insurance company pays oodles of people who do nothing but narrow down those odds, much much much better than any Vegas odds maker. They accept the risk for you, for a fee.

3) What's wrong with having the option to buy in later, but paying more? We buy life insurance based on that principle - if you're older and/or have had health problems, you pay more. Homeowners insurance costs more if you live in an area that increases your likelihood of a claim, and your car insurance costs more if you have a bad driving record.

Your suggestion is typical, though, of the kind of thinking that went into the Democrats' plan, and is evidenced in the 'arguments' of those still trying to defend it: "If you don't agree to THIS plan, right NOW, then you obviously don't want healthcare and we will not consider any other option."

Mike Ford 4 years, 9 months ago

gee, nothing like the destructive self fulfilling transformation that Dumya almost succeeded at with the no child left in a public school because we want them all to be future parochial school attending wingnuts and we will give out welfare in the form of vouchers to do so bs. my late mother taught at the grade school cowboy great Emmitt Smith attended in the hood in Pensacola, FL. It wasn't about actual learning, it was about teaching to the test. this was set up by dumblicans wanting to close public schools the same way they tried to terminate the federal recognition of over three hundred indian tribes from S.C. all the way to oregon from 1954 to 1966 only to have Mr. Nixon repudiate the termination policy and the start the process of restoring federal recognition to a hundred or so tribes from 1972 to 1994. Some Republicans weren't actually the dumblicans that people like shewmon blindly follow now. They actually thought and said publically that pandering to the religious types would bring the GOP down. Reagan didn't mind using them, but father Bush abhorred them and only begrudgingly accepted them when the economy tanked his presidency. The government works except when the dumblicans get into office with the intended purpose of dismantling the government. Nothing like the driver driving the car wrecking it and then telling the blind and dumb followers on the streetside that the car doesn't work.... gee I wonder why?

HaRDNoK9 4 years, 9 months ago

Obama made no snake oil pitch. Change? Yes He did! He offered us a lump of crap and painted it blue. The Voters failed to see through the blue paint to recognize it for the lump of crap that it was, and never even considered that the change he was offering might not be the change we wanted or expected. We were so sure that Bush did such a bad job painting his crap blob red that a blue lump of crap would have to be better! How many people are interested in a green pile of crap for the next election?

It has never been about who was in office, it is about the actions of the people. You cannot affect the change you want by sitting in front of your plasma television, playing your xbox 360, silently asserting your apathetic view of the world around you.

Mike Ford 4 years, 9 months ago

I love how you do the whole trifecta thing right off of the fixed network talking points. we never had to connect Delay and Bush they were crooks and dupes on a singular basis. Delay manipulated the government so that federal labor laws wouldn't apply in the American Marianas Islands for his clients. He and Jack Abramov duped and stole from the Alabama Coushatta amd Tigua Pueblo peoples who had reservations in Texas. Since you appear obtuse, I'll explain to you how your party dismantles regulations and then says the government doesn't work and you profit from it. Both of the tribes mentioned above had some form of state recognition before federal recognition happened. The Tiguas were recognized in 1968 and Coushattas were restored to federal recognition in 1989. When the Coushattas were restored from terminated recognition in 1989, the state of texas didn't allow them land in trust. They built a casino and dumblican attorney general John Cornyn raided it and shut it down. Delay know full well that he didn't have a lot of power to reverse the language of the restoration bill concerning gaming but he and Abramov took the Coushattas money and did nothing anyway. Delay was forced out of office for many things and Abramov just got done with a 4 year prison stint. he still owes a Louisiana tribe over $20 million in restitution and hasn't paid a dime, please o genius obama bashing dumblican, call people criminals when you're party has had time serving criminals. don't have amnesia.. oh wait that's the dumblican and tealican plan.

notajayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

You're from KCMO? The place that sent Claire McCaskill and Emmanuel Cleaver to Washington? And you're talking about the improprieties of any politician? That's good, tuschie - thanks for the laughs.

Mike Ford 4 years, 9 months ago

furthermore, I do blame Obama for something. he was kindly naive in thinking you all wouldn't be the obtuse chuckleheads you are. He tried to be nice when he should've gone Truman versus the world out of the gate. He should campaign against the dumblican body the way Truman used the 80th Congress to campaign against. If you're going to be the party of no you should be castigated as the party of no. However, in the hinterlands, people vote for people who do nothing in office. They love the farming subsidies, though, and they love medicaid and social security, what a disconnected bunch of voters.

Eileen Jones 4 years, 9 months ago

Excellent letter from Dr. Bruner.

He perfectly explains why the mandates are the necessary companion to guaranteed insurance coverage.

We have two other choices:

  1. The way things were this time last year, which most people would agree does NOT work for far too many Americans.

  2. Single payer - the best option of all.

Eileen Jones 4 years, 9 months ago

Aren't you referring to "going back to the way it was before" - the way that doesn't work for many Americans because it's very, very expensive and costs are skyrocketing every year?

No thanks. Something needs to be fixed. I'm not entirely happy with what Congress passed but it was the best they could do with corporate and Republican obstruction (even though much of it was what Republicans proposed in the first place). But it's a start. And it will be modified until it works. Unless Republicans get back in control at which point it will be, if you're rich, we love ya, and if you're middle class, you aren't represented.

Eileen Jones 4 years, 9 months ago

P.S. I'm not much of a fan of the Bush administration banning Medicare to negotiate with drug companies for the best prices. That kind of government regulation stinks.

Mike Ford 4 years, 9 months ago

no, shewmon, I always use this analogy, is a rattlesnake ever going to stop coiling up and rattling and biting at people..no... do dumblicans ever stop with the supply side and tax cut bs that even father Bush proclaimed a failure when he called out bedtime for bonzo for voodoo economics in 1980, no... he should've declared war on you all because you have no reasoning skills... you don't admit when you're wrong and you pander to the amnesia of dumb voters whom you have riled up into a frenzy over bs with no platform to speak of. You're in denial...end of story. $830 billion for Bush tax cuts isn't much less than the stimulus you wrongly declare a failure. Point #1, when I drove through a dumblican area known as Osage City and Lyndon, KS, there was a recovery project on U.S. 75. If these chuckleheads hate Obama, maybe they should stop asking for federal dollars to fix roads. Maybe they're hypocrites like you.

notajayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

"you don't admit when you're wrong"

Whereas you don't even know when you are. Which is strange, considering how often that is.

BTW, tuschie - would that road project have been built without the 'stimulus' money?

Oh, and were you complaining during the Bush years about your taxes being lower? Because unless you're one of the 40+% who get a free ride on income taxes, yours went down, too.

You're nothing more than a caricature of the typical Larryville liberal, lining up for your pablum and asking for more. You're one of those people who applauded the weasel-in-chief when he stood up in a state with a 13+% unemployment rate talking about how his bailouts saved their jobs, aren't you? You probably swallowed the kool-aid about how his healthcare plan added years to the solvency of Medicare, despite the fact that those who are actually in charge of the trust said no, it didn't. Your innate hatred of Republicans has rendered you blind, deaf, and dumb to facts, reason, or logic.

a_flock_of_jayhawks 4 years, 9 months ago

naj says... "Because unless you're one of the 40+% who get a free ride on income taxes, yours went down, too. "

Soooo, we're taxed too much, but 40+% don't pay income taxes. Which is it, naj?

The vast majority of those who did not pay income tax still payed into SS and Medicare as well as paying property taxes, sales taxes, gasoline taxes, alcohol and tobacco taxes. Doesn't sound like a free ride, naj. The break in the percentage is at households earning less than $40k to $50k depending on whether they filed head of household/jointly or single. The vast majority of units that fit into that category are elderly or have children.

So why do you hate families and the elderly so much?

notajayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

Can you even read, flock? I'm serious. Um, yes, those who don't pay income taxes still pay most of those other taxes. Oh, except the ones without earned income don't pay SS or Medicare. Oh, and those on food stamps don't pay sales tax on that. And maybe those who don't have the money to contribute in taxes shouldn't be buying cigarettes and liquor. But at any rate, perhaps if you had someone read the posts to you before you attempted to respond; you might have noticed the actual quote was "a free ride on income taxes", and looked marginally less foolish.

And, um, flock? There's nothing contradictory in saying that we, as a population, pay too much in taxes when the lower two quintiles pay nothing. But then, that's the whole attitude of people like you, isn't it? 'We're not getting taxed too much, because someone ELSE is paying it.'

a_flock_of_jayhawks 4 years, 9 months ago

You're the chump, naj, as always. Still acting like a child, I see.

You're wrong, I won't change your simple little mind about it, and you're not worth the time.

notajayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

Nice, typical, passive-aggressive whining, flock. I wasn't worth the time, but you had to take the time to say so. In other words, you have no response, but want everyone to think you do.

It's really not my fault you didn't bother to read my post before responding and you made, as usual, a fool of yourself. I stated plainly that the 40% I was referring to got a free ride on "income taxes". Not SS, not Medicare, not sales or liquor or cigarette or property or any other tax. And, um, flock? What exactly am I "wrong" about?

You're nothing more than a petulant brat who made a jerk of himself and are trying to make it look like you're the genius. I'm sure you'll impress the heck out of the other bloated-ego, self-important, elitist, snobbish, whining losers. And I'm sure you're right that taxes aren't too high - at least, not for you, that is. As usual, who cares, as long as someone else is paying, right, flock?

voevoda 4 years, 9 months ago

Good letter, Dr. Brunner. You see at first hand every day the anguish ordinary people suffer in trying to figure out how to get the health care they need at a price they can afford. Out of human compassion, health care providers often want to treat people who have no insurance and cannot pay. But if they do, then the cost of their treatment is passed on to patients who can pay, or to their insurance carriers, raising their rates. Not a week goes by that the LJW prints a heartwrenching story about a critically-ill person who desperately needs treatment and is asking for donations to pay for it. That's the bottom line--the evidence that the current "system" is broken.
The health insurance reform passed by Congress and President Obama isn't going to solve the problem of health care in the US. But it's a step in the right direction, which is more than the vocal opponents have been willing to do. If they have an alternative, they need to bring it to the public, instead of just muddying discussion with Chicken-Little-the-Sky-is-Falling alarmist rhetoric.

notajayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

Don't be silly, Liberty. Intervention and subsidies are only wrong when Republicans are responsible.

Eileen Jones 4 years, 9 months ago

Do you have a better solution? Details, please. Not Lynn Jenkins style "we Republicans had this great idea" (and then no specifics).

Republicans were in power for a long time. They didn't do one thing to alleviate the health care crisis which affects millions more Americans every year.

notajayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

And the Democrats did what, again, last time they were in power? Or the time before that? Or before that?

It's not my job to educate the uninformed. Try something called "Google". It's a new thing, it should help you. There were plenty of Republican proposals. I'm not claiming they were all the best ideas or even that some of those would have been workable - but to say they didn't even exist is more than a bit disingenuous, actually more like an outright lie. Even the weasel-in-chief said he was going to try to incorporate some of the Republican proposals (before reneging on that claim). Now, what Republican proposals was HE talking about, stain, if there weren't any?

BTW, stain, the Democrats didn't do one thing to alleviate the crisis, either. The beneficiaries of the Democrats' plan were the insurance companies, nobody else.

Eileen Jones 4 years, 9 months ago

The free market didn't work, because health insurance companies r@pe us and pharmaceutical companies r@pe us. Most of those pharma companies get NIH subsidies for developing drugs, but they charge you at the wazoo anyway. Drugs I took years ago cost much, much more today - I mean several times as much - in GENERIC. Go figure. That's what zero regulation does: allows corporations to r@pe the consumers who have no choice because they need medicine.

notajayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

The free market system doesn't exist in healthcare. It hasn't been part of the equation since the inception of third-party payers.

Read the excerpt I posted from Dr. Bruner's website (which, with the LJW's new threaded system, actually appears below this). I mean this part: "If you let your doctor know about your financial constraints, he or she often can reduce your testing and drug costs, such as by prescribing less expensive generic drugs or, if possible, by supplying you with free samples of drugs." If everyone did that, it would have an immediate and huge impact on our healthcare spending. Some studies have suggested as much as 40% of our spending is unnecessary. But when you have insurance, do you even question whether that CAT scan is absolutely necessary? Do you ask for cheaper medications rather than the latest-greatest wonder drug the phamaco-rep is pushing this month, that they're spending 100 million dollars to advertise on TV? Of course you don't - if your co-pay is only going to be $50 or $100 one way or the other, then go ahead, bring on the tests and the expensive meds. THAT is the problem, and making sure everyone has insurance will only make that worse, not better.

notajayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

"Out of human compassion, health care providers often want to treat people who have no insurance and cannot pay. "

Uh, yeah. From Dr. Bruner's website:

" The doctors of Lawrence Family Medicine and Obstetrics understand and share the concern of many about declining health insurance coverage for many Americans. Our professional organization, the American Academy of Family Physicians, has worked hard to promote the passage of universal health insurance coverage in our nation for many years. (We urge you to help us by making your needs known to your elected representatives in Washington and Topeka.) Until legislation mandating insurance coverage for all Americans is passed, we will continue to try to help our patients who are not insured or who are underinsured get the care they need. For instance, we offer a 20 percent discount to cash- or credit-card paying patients. And, although we require payment at the time of service, we will work with you to set up payment plans for large medical expenses. If you let your doctor know about your financial constraints, he or she often can reduce your testing and drug costs, such as by prescribing less expensive generic drugs or, if possible, by supplying you with free samples of drugs. In cases of extraordinary or ongoing medical needs, we can refer you to Health Care Access, a clinic manned by volunteer doctors (including our own), which is able to provide markedly reduced-cost medical care."

http://www.lfmo.com/FAQs.htm#I_work_full_time

To paraphrase: 'If you can't afford to pay my bill, pressure the government to make everyone else pays for it. If you can't get insurance, we'll give you a discount - that likely amounts to you still paying twice what we get reimbursed from patients with insurance. We can also discuss lower-cost alternatives - we don't discuss those alternatives with the insured, which means either a) we're giving substandard care to the self-paying patients, or b) we soak insurance companies for unnecessary costs. And if you still can't afford my bill, we'll refer you to HCA.'

What a fine example of human compassion.

voevoda 4 years, 9 months ago

notajayhawk, If you don't like Dr. Brunner's approach, what would youdo instead? Specifics, please. It is easy to criticize when you aren't required to come up with a workable alternative.

notajayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

For a start, Dr. Bruner - and every doctor - should be taking the approach of finding ways to hold costs down, not finding ways to pay for higher and higher costs. Those options he mentions on his website should be discussed with every patient. Patients should be helped to understand that even if they have insurance, tests of questionable necessity and medications that are unreasonably expensive may not cost them more today (since their co-pay won't change), but they shouldn't be in shock when their premiums skyrocket as a result. A collaboration between Drs. and patients is the only way costs are ever going to come down. Making all costs transparent - up front - and offering patients alternatives is better than allowing costs to spiral out of control and then scrambling for money to pay for it.

voevoda 4 years, 9 months ago

notajayhawk, Do you know that Dr. Brunner isn't doing all that already? Many doctors do. It would help if insurance companies wouldn't reimburse doctors per procedure--that is, remove the profit motive for doctors to order extra tests. It would also help if doctors didn't have to worry about malpractice suits. However, for these changes to occur, it will probably take more government regulation of the health care industry, not less.

notajayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

Just out of curiosity, how is everyone having insurance going to help the problem I described, or, for that matter, the one you described?

Mike Ford 4 years, 9 months ago

gee, notajayhawk, did I get under your skin? do facts annoy you? facts annoy most republicans because the facts pull the carpet out from under you..awwwww. I started paying taxes at a job in 1986, however having a parent that was clergy meant that I saw the horror of a minister who was educated who wasn't a wingnut political dumblican shill paying taxes for being self-employed and my late mother paying taxes as a teacher while still having a master's degree to pay for. We never saw the dumblican tax cut bs you chuckleheads so blindly champion. Beyond that, I'm a hunter and a gun owner and a Democrat who buys into none of the larryville stereotype bs you dumblicans so blindly throw out. Is the Husky avatar a Connecticut reference? I know of a lot of hateful connecticut people who attack Pequots and Mohegans in that state. You act like you might know Anne Coulter, another polite yankee.

independant1 4 years, 9 months ago

Some people spend a lifetime juggling with words, with not an idea in a carload. (Will Rogers)

notajayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

Sounds like you're the thin-skinned one here, tuschie. If you didn't see any benefit from the tax cuts, it's because you weren't paying any taxes. The taxes went down by virtually the same percentage across all income groups - except, of course, those who weren't paying anything. You could look up the facts for yourself - but of course, you won't.

As far as what my avatar represents, tuschie, your own posts are meant to be respectful and tolerant? You do nothing but spew hatred and vitriol around here on a daily basis and then cry waaaah waaah waaah when you get it back. Like I said, tuschie - just a caricature of the typical Larryville loon.

Mike Ford 4 years, 9 months ago

wow, it's okay when you do it but its bad when I do it. you're the one who tried out the whole larryville thing on me. It doesn't fit me. As for the math you deny.. here it is.. townships, counties, cities, and municipalities all depend on taxes for roads, lakes, schools, police, you name it. when the dumblicans decide to cut taxes how is a functioning society maintained? where does the fees come from to maintain a functioning society? you bad mathmaticians always claim that people will have more money to spend and the municipalities will take care of themselves. you give away service fees in tax cuts and the problems I always predict come to fruition. cities, counties and states have gigantic shortfalls and you ask why? dumblicans cut tax revenue. I'll give you a lesson on Seminole Indian society that plays here... all of the Seminole communities in Florida prior to the invasion and illegal purchase of Florida in the 1820's and the invasion of Americans paid tribute in the form of surplus crops to the main community so that there would be food for everyone and a surplus for tough times. Even the Black Seminoles were part of this equasion. As civilized peoples we should look out for everyone so that the success is shared and people succeed and survive. Everytime the me first people show up and want theirs back the society as a whole fails in chaos... what has happened everytime the dumblicans clamor for power at the expense of a functioning society? they drag down the society around them.. oops don't admit it.. history already tagged you... I'm soooooo much a hateful historian.

notajayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

"As for the math you deny.. here it is.. townships, counties, cities, and municipalities all depend on taxes for roads, lakes, schools, police, you name it. when the dumblicans decide to cut taxes how is a functioning society maintained?"

Well, you could look up the numbers for yourself - but you won't - but, um, tuschie? Tax revenues increased after the tax cuts. The deficits and economic downturn were caused by over-spending, not under-taxing. And, um, somehow or other spending MORE doesn't seem like a viable solution to that problem, especially in a time where tax revenues are falling off. But hey, you have your own "math". And your mother was a teacher? Shame she didn't accomplish much with you - btw, tuschie, there really are things to consider like capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when trying to communicate in a written form.

"wow, it's okay when you do it but its bad when I do it. you're the one who tried out the whole larryville thing on me."

Oh, yeah, I started it, tuschie. 'Cause when every one of your mindless rants includes stuff like this:

  • "you're the one who tried out the whole larryville thing on me. It doesn't fit me."

  • "he should've declared war on you all because you have no reasoning skills"

  • "Maybe they're hypocrites like you."

  • "o genius obama bashing dumblican"

  • "he was kindly naive in thinking you all wouldn't be the obtuse chuckleheads you are"

I'm sure you meant all those things in the spirit of goodwill and tolerance.

Mike Ford 4 years, 9 months ago

nice of you to denigrate my mom's memory, she died in a car accident last summer. I've watched as your side of the equasion called Obama every name in the book, elitist, socialist, communist and question his knowledge of the constitution after he was a constitutional professor in college... really???? adapt the fourteenth amendment really????? sounds like actions of the desperate to me. you write here in total denial of George Herbert Walker Bush stating publically that tax cuts don't work... really??????? I would've never stooped to name calling but you know what.. I get tired of the same repeated 1980's supply side bs being repeated over and over.. I get tired of being told I'm from the ghetto on a yahoo blog when I remind the dingbats over there that the current home of dixiecrat racists that Harry Truman ran off in 1948 and LBJ ran off in 1964 is in the GOP and the Tea Party movement. I'm Choctaw Indian and I'm from the ghetto...really...???? I've been a polite poster in previous years, but you know what.. sometimes one has to confront the brutally uninformed with brutality until the uninformed heed the notice that their repeated Reagan era bs doesn't fly here. I went without healthcare as working poor in the mid 90's. in the last decade, I had a parent have a liver transplant a mother die, and a sibling get leukemia randomly. I've watched as the rural uninformed such as those people in Missouri vote against their own interests because they buy the words of one of their native blowhards as the bible's truth. The only freedom being argued here is the freedom to be as dumb as one wants to be. This is a blog... are you really that concerned with punctuation? have you seen the punctuation of texters.... again...really.

notajayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

"nice of you to denigrate my mom's memory"

Yep, I knew that one was going to get thrown out.

Sorry for your loss, and I hate to break this to you, I was in no way denigrating your mother's memory. I'm not one of those people who believes that old adage that there are no bad students. I'm sure your mother was an excellent teacher, just as I'm sure it wasn't HER fault you didn't learn anything.

As for the rest of your rant - really, why bother? It's close to unintelligible anyway. Do yourself a favor and actually research the facts - then tell me whether or not I was right that tax revenues increased after the tax cuts.

And one more time you prove yourself to be a perfect caricature of the Larryville 'progressives'. The snobbish elitism is amazing, coming from someone that can't put an intelligible sentence together. YOU get to decide what's in the best interests of the people in another state, and think it's perfectly justified to force them to go along? Guess what, tuschie - the people of Missouri voted for what's in their interests. The fact that YOU disagree probably never entered their heads. You're a perfect liberal elitist, tusch - YOU know better than other people do what's in their interests. What a joke.

Mike Ford 4 years, 9 months ago

gee, as a kansas city missourian, by birth, they didn't represent my views on health care. I've paid for health care for the last twelve years and I find it hard to believe that the walmart model of economics doesn't apply here. The more people in the system paying for health care means the prices go down. I could pay almost $2.69 for a box of velveeta shells and cheese at dillons or I pay $1.87 at walmart for the same product because of the increased volume of involvement and buying power of walmart. every once in a while dillon's lowers prices to try and compete with walmart but they have to go back up. More people involved in health care means people have to pay attention and be responsible for their services. wow, a democrat pushing personal responsibility while a republican pushes the individual right to be unhealthy as freedom from government. people actually taking responsibility for their future health concerns. The more I see rural unhealthy people I believe the govenrment should take steps to get people to stop smoking and eat better to save these peoples lives and the government money from chloresterol, emphysema, and diabetes issues. This government concern is soooooo evil.... reallly... more evil than the Bob Dole health care plan of don't get sick or die quicker. It's so bad to be concerned for a fellow citizen and so un-american. really......

notajayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

"gee, as a kansas city missourian, by birth, they didn't represent my views on health care."

Gee, I'm shocked. I suppose you also expect the voters of Kansas to represent the views of Larryville.

Your Wal-mart example is ridiculously flawed in its oversimplification. First of all, because there's a lot of reasons Dillons charges more for Velveeta shells & cheese than Wal-mart does that have nothing to do with volume. For just one example, there's a concept in marketing known as 'prestige pricing', which basically says people believe that when they're charged more, the product must be worth more. The typical Dillons shopper, as opposed to the typical Wal-mart shopper, generally isn't a big mac-and-cheese eater anyway, and they don't believe that anything that is that cheap could be a good product.

But more importantly, you're forgetting something: Putting everyone into the insurance pool spreads the costs, yes, but it also dramatically increases those costs. I thought that's what this whole thing was about - those people who are 'uninsurable' due to serious and/or pre-existing medical conditions having access to insurance? When you throw in 32 million people, a great number of which have things like liver disease or leukemia, it takes a whole boatload of new, healthy people to cover those costs. In other words, it would be like Wal-mart enjoying the greater volume, but at the same time being forced to carry all the same products that Dillons carries, many of which they'd have to pay for and wouldn't sell.

You really believe you're advocating personal responsibility, tuschie? Really? If you want to be personally responsible, pay out-of-pocket for your own healthcare, the way I do. Stop trying to get me to pay for yours, too. And you really think I'm arguing for the right to be unhealthy? My health is fine, thanks. I have access to healthcare. I pay for it. You should try it some time.

Also, and I know this is a waste of bandwidth, but you wanna' take a shot at explaining how saying "I believe the govenrment should take steps to get people to stop smoking and eat better to save these peoples lives" translates in any language, from this planet or any other, as "pushing personal responsibility"?

Mike Ford 4 years, 9 months ago

I paid $3200.00 through my employer last year for health care as I've done for the last 12 years. Enough with the I'm paying for your health care bs. I used a simple equasion with the health care discussion because I've seen so many simpletons screaming about nothing that I thought I'd speak in a language they'd understand. Also rocket scientist? haven't you heard about the high risk pool for people who have serious conditions that's outside the regular pool of insured peoples? from the sounds of your comments you haven't.. so keep ranting about your make believe boogeyman just like the smart people of missouri do.

notajayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

Wow! A whole $3200! That's huge!

Um, except - if that covered your entire healthcare expenses, tuschie - then what's the point of carrying insurance?

Let's see - you paid $3200, and the average per-person healthcare costs are twice that in this country. So, yes, tuschie, someone else is paying for your healthcare.

As a matter of fact, your insurance company reimburses providers at a rate far below what I get charged. So yes, I AM paying for your healthcare.

And let's see, what was all that blather about the 'Wal-mart model' and how spreading the costs around are supposed to lower the per-person costs? It doesn't, but it's clear from your belief in that fallacy that the only reason YOU (who have insurance) want ME (who doesn't) to buy into the pool is to lower your premiums. In other words, again, yes, you are asking me to pay for your healthcare.

Spin it any way you want, tuschie ... you're still asking for a handout unless you pay all your own costs out of your own pocket. And speaking of simpletons, bud - if you were paying your own way, then what's the problem? Why do you need the government to take MY money?

independant1 4 years, 9 months ago

Don't know why a couple items that could lower Insurance and Car costs aren't on the table. Competition across state lines for insurance and tort reform. Obama didn't reach across the aisle like Bush did NCLB to Ted Kennedy (probably not the best ex) for As tusch says the dumblican ideas. Methinks it's because the pres/dem plan isn't trying to tap the market dynamics.

I just don't see where access to treatment was in meltdown, who gets turned away when they are ill? Nobody. The uniquely american gulash medical care quasi system provides leading edge treatment even to those that can't or don't pay after treatment. Same issue, uninsured and deadbeats, drive up cost for the rest. Nobody gets turned away when they are ill, nobody heard/hears "you can't pay go away? or you didn't pay last time, go away." Those uncollectables are passed on to the paying folk in other market ways.

There are many facets to the "Healthcare" question. I see a big difference between the H word and Medical Care but that is another subject.

Susan Mangan 4 years, 9 months ago

At first it bothered me that "doctor" Bruner spent so much of his time whining about how the uneducated masses should all listen to the brilliant doctor who, clearly, knows so much more about health, politics, the environment, the economy, and the world than the rest of the poor fools he "treats". But then I realized that the more time he spends whining, the less time he spends in his office, endangering yet another patient. Keep writing, "doctor" Bruner,...and stay out of the office. You are doing all of us a public service.

poppies 4 years, 9 months ago

Dr. Bruner has it exactly right. The irony here is that the individual mandate is necessary to preserve the private insurance system. As Dr. Bruner says, without a mandate, many people will purchase insurance only when they're sick, leading to what is known in the insurance industry as the "death spiral."

So, those of you who object to the mandate, think carefully about what you want. Without a mechanism that ensures that everybody participates in the private insurance system, you could be hastening the expansion of the public system that you claim to fear most of all.

poppies 4 years, 9 months ago

"What I want is to not have insurance at all."

Do you have any idea how much health care services cost? I'm not talking about a visit to the doc or a flu shot. I'm talking about the real health care costs that insurance is designed to cover. A cardiac cath with a few days in the hospital, for example, could easily run $50,000. A diagnosis of cancer will cost many hundreds of thousands. Being fortunate enough to live and fight the cancer for years could cost millions. These costs have little to do with price incentives or the purported lack of a free market in health care.

Health insurance developed and evolved precisely because it was a way to allow people to pay into a system that may (or may not) benefit them in the future. It works the way all insurance works - many pay in and a few get benefits. Saying that we should do away with health insurance is akin to saying that most people who get sick should simply crawl away and die. Perhaps that's what you want.

Again, weakening the private insurance market hastens the need for broader government involvement. There are reasonable arguments for and against a private only system, a mixed public-private system (which we have now and the Affordable Care Act seeks to strengthen), or a public system. But saying that you want to eliminate insurance is not a solution. It's the creation of a far far larger problem.

notajayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

It's the people that have insurance that have absolutely no idea what healthcare costs. They think their monthly premium and their co-pays cover their healthcare. This is particularly true for the people that have taxpayer-funded insurance, who never even see a bill, and have no clue that the doctor's visit they just had cost a week's salary, that ER visit cost as much as a new car, and that medium-to-major surgery cost them as much as their house.

What Liberty is saying, and I've said countless times myself (including earlier in this thread), is that these people have absolutely no incentive to hold costs down. Some studies have shown as much as 40% of our healthcare costs may be unnecessary. But when you only pay the co-pay (if that), what incentive do you have to question whether that test, procedure, or medication is absolutely necessary, or even if there are cheaper alternatives? According to Dr. bruner's website, he urges those with no insurance to discuss that with their doctor to seek cheaper alternatives - why aren't the alternatives discussed with every patient?

Wouldn't you drive an extra half-hour to another emergency room for a non-life-threatening matter (say a cut that required stitches but you weren't in danger of bleeding out) if you were paying out of pocket and the farther ER charged half as much? I don't have insurance, and I can afford healthcare - because I DO those things. I question whether an x-ray is necessary when the same doctor did the same x-ray two days earlier. I ask if there are generic medications, preferably something on one of the national chains' $4 formulary, instead of the latest 'wonder drug' the pharmaceutical rep is pushing this week. I ask if there are cheaper alternatives we can try first before beginning an expensive procedure or regimen. If everyone did that, we'd be able to afford healthcare.

You were right about one thing - the purpose of insurance. It was not intended to pay for the day-to-day doctor's visits that most people could afford and budget for. If it had "evolved" the way it was supposed to, again, it would be affordable. You don't use your homeowner's insurance for painting the kitchen, or your car insurance for putting a new stereo in your car, do you?

The so-badly-misnamed "Affordable Care Act" is a crock. Virtually everyone has said it will drive the cost of healthcare up. There is no mechanism in place that prevents insurance companies from tripling their premiums. As a matter of fact, they now get penalized for trying to hold costs down, and get rewarded for inflating prices. And the worst part is - no matter what they charge, people have to pay it - it's the law. And when everyone has insurance? As mentioned, the insurance companies have every incentive to inflate healthcare costs further, and nobody has any incentive to try to hold them down.

poppies 4 years, 9 months ago

To Liberty One: You are correct about how employer-provided health insurance became the dominant form of insurance in this country. You are incorrect, however, about it's origins. Private health insurance was around long before WWII.

To both Liberty One and Nota: I have a very cogent idea about how much health care costs and why. I've been a health policy professional for more than 25 years. You both rail against the system we have but offer no feasible alternative.

Eliminating insurance is not a feasible alternative, it is a simplistic ideological argument that, if implemented, would cause massive disruption, both economically and in the health system (and with people's health). I'm familiar with all the arguments about consumerism and some are valid. Until you can provide an explanation of how an average American would be able to pay for the inevitable cost of a major illness or accident, however, without insurance of some form (either private, public, or a combination), your so-called solutions are simply not real.

notajayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

"I've been a health policy professional for more than 25 years."

So you're one of the people we have to thank for our current situation.

Thanks.

"your so-called solutions are simply not real.

And yours is real why, again? I notice you didn't try to dispute the fact that healthcare costs will rise with the passage of the "Affordable" Healthcare Act. The loss-ratio provisions, in the absence of a cap or some mechanism for limiting premiums, guarantees that insurance companies will inflate prices because that's now the only way they have to make a profit. In a market system, they couldn't do that, because eventually premiums would reach a point where more people wouldn't or couldn't buy insurance any more. But thanks to Obamacare, they no longer have a choice.

What good does it do to force everyone to carry insurance if people can't afford insurance? My own employer charges $1300/month for insurance with a $5000 deductible and 20% co-pay. That's an increase of over 40% since the "affordable" Healthcare Act passed. Why would anyone pay that? Oh, that's right - because we have to.

What you don't seem to grasp is that it's not a matter of HOW we pay for it. We can't pay for it. Whether it's out-of-pocket, through premiums, or through taxation, it's simply an unsustainable system, we CAN not keep paying for 2 trillion dollars worth of healthcare costs. The only way people will be able to afford care is if prices come down, and there is no - absolutely NO - incentive for that to happen while people have third party payers.

poppies 4 years, 9 months ago

You miss the point. This has nothing to do with accepting or not accepting that health care is "supposed" to be expensive (I won't even get into the fact that it's only "really really expensive" in the U.S.) . Let's say it was half as expensive, or a third. The average consumer would still be unable to pay for an average hospital stay out of pocket. The existence of insurance is a market-based response to give consumers a way to pay for high unplanned costs (no different than homeowners insurance, for example; health insurance also has a tax incentive, but even if business tax exemptions were eliminated, there would still be no viable alternative to insurance).

Nota, you're absolutely right that health care is phenominally and unsustainably expensive. That's why health reform is necessary. You still haven't offered any solutions, though. The Affordable Care Act may not be perfect (it has many flaws), but what's the reasonable, sustainable, politically feasible alternative?

poppies 4 years, 9 months ago

So how do you explain that costs in the U.S. are at least double that of other developed nations? Government intervention in this country is nowhere near the levels of these other nations, yet they deliver the same services for less cost with better quality.

notajayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

"So how do you explain that costs in the U.S. are at least double that of other developed nations? Government intervention in this country is nowhere near the levels of these other nations, yet they deliver the same services for less cost with better quality."

1) Everything costs more in this country, including doctors, who get paid twice as much as their counterparts overseas. Are you expecting them to cut their pay in half?

2) One measure you never see - anywhere - is how much we pay as a percentage of disposable household income. Any other comparison is meaningless. It doesn't do you much good to live in a place where a hospital stay costs only $1000 when your income is only $2000/year.

3) There is no objective measure of healthcare outcome. None. Don't be mislead by the somewhat objective measures of overall health of a population, such as mortality rates and longevity. The leading causes of infant mortality, for example, have nothing to do with our healthcare system. And those bacon-triple-cheeseburgers just might have as much of an impact on life expectancy as access to healthcare does. When it comes to things like survival rates for cancer, the United States healthcare system is way ahead of the world.

I thought you said you were in this business? You should know these things.

notajayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

Wrong. The existence of insurance WAS (to an extent) a market-based response. Now that people have no choice but to buy insurance, there is no longer any market force involved. I.e., in the past, people could (as I do) make a choice based on whether it made economic sense to pay the premiums or assume the risk for themselves. Thanks to Obamacare, that's no longer the case.

Yes, I have offered alternatives, and the Republicans have offered many more. Try Googling it for yourself. They were proposed but not allowed to come for a vote. In any case, your defense of the so-called "Affordable" Healthcare Act (which does nothing - absolutely nothing - to control costs) appears to be that last-gasp, desperation act of saying 'at least we're doing something', when in reality it accomplishes nothing but making the situation worse.

Mike Ford 4 years, 9 months ago

notajayhawk, I have employer enrolled health insurance, you don't pay squat on my insurance. my human resources/comptroller manager at my job even wants this health care bill. you're the typical I got what little I got guy and you can't have it. How American of you... Caring people share amongst each other as a society.. they don't act like a bunch of me first retread reaganites. Maybe you should find a job that offers insurance... I did... even McDonalds offer health insurance.

notajayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

Your employer pays part of your insurance premium. Those costs are included in the price of their products. So, one more time, yes, tuschie, I'm paying for your healthcare.

You said you pay $3200/year. The average healthcare costs for a person in this country are over $6000/year. Now, you haven't impressed me as being particularly bright, tusch, but you CAN understand that 3200 is less than 6000, can't you? If everyone in the country put in $3200 and took out $6000, where do you think the rest of the money is going to come from?

It's a simple equation, tusch - if you're paying your own way, you don't need anybody else's money. Why can't you grasp that simple little fact?

poppies 4 years, 9 months ago

Nota, once again you miss the point. You're right that the cost of employee health insurance is included in the cost of products (the same as salaries and other employee costs). If businesses didn't provide health insurance, however, that money would be included in salaries or some other employee benefit. So, the cost of their products wouldn't be lower.

jafs 4 years, 9 months ago

Not necessarily.

It's entirely possible that businesses wouldn't raise salaries, but simply cut benefits.

That sort of thing happens all the time these days.

poppies 4 years, 9 months ago

You're absolutely right that businesses may cut benefits without raising salaries. In the end, though, a business cost is a business cost. Whether it goes to salaries, benefits, or something else, it goes on the expense side of the ledger.

If we are to believe in the free market (as nota and others seem to), then we must assume that businesses compete for employees. The business that chooses to cut benefits without increasing salaries will thus be at a recruiting disadvantage.

The point is that many factors go into how a business prices its products. Nota claimed that if businesses no longer provide health insurance, then prices for their products will go down. I'm simply pointing out that this isn't the case. This is standard Econ 101 stuff . . .

jafs 4 years, 9 months ago

That would only matter if there was a shortage of employees rather than a shortage of jobs.

And, they might lower their prices, but again might not.

They could simply charge the same amount of money and make higher profits.

notajayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

"If businesses didn't provide health insurance, however, that money would be included in salaries or some other employee benefit."

What color is the sky on your planet, poppies?

Mike Ford 4 years, 9 months ago

I'm bright enough and healthy enough and smart enough that I don't pay as much for my insurance as you say and you don't pay for my employer's part of my insurance genius so I don't see where you're getting your "FACTS?" from.

Mike Ford 4 years, 9 months ago

I'm off to work for my insurance so I'll bid the pointless arguers adieu.

notajayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

tuschkahouma (anonymous) says… "I paid $3200.00 through my employer last year for health care" [August 8, 2010 at 10:17 p.m.]

notajayhawk (anonymous) replies… "You said you pay $3200/year" [August 9, 2010 at 5:13 p.m.]

tuschkahouma (anonymous) says… "I'm bright enough and healthy enough and smart enough that I don't pay as much for my insurance as you say" [August 9, 2010 at 5:53 p.m.]


Apparently, tuschie, you're not even bright enough to know what YOU said. Just keep begging for someone to pay your way, big guy. I wouldn't expect any different from you.

Mike Ford 4 years, 9 months ago

you know I wasn't going to do this, but oh well, why not. This whole paying your own way thing is a farce. American exceptionalism is a farce. This whole country was taken by immigrants from indigenous peoples and now the immigrants are claiming that everyone else wants something for nothing when they got something for next to nothing... land... my ancestors are choctaw indians. They didn't sign a treaty in 1830 when most of Mississippi was taken from them. They applied for lands in Oklahoma through your government's Dawes Commission and were denied that because they stayed in Mississippi and Alabama. Land begats resources, resources begats income, income comes from employment, taxes come from land and land was taken from tribes. There's the chain of theft culpability going back to the puritans who thought they had a divine right to take the lands of the Wampanoags who were decimated by their smallpox between 1610 and 1620. That same arrogant sense of divine acquisition is alive and well with all of the posters who've acquired theirs down the theft chain and caste judgement upon others. I'm not Lakota but I think the term Wasichu fits. The relevence of this statement lies in Missouri voters and other like minded people acting like Wasichus and not looking out for their society as a whole. oh well.

notajayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

So, um, make up your mind - first you claim the people in Missouri aren't looking out for their own best interests. Now they're full of greedy self-interest and not looking out for society.

Do you ever go an hour without talking out of both sides of your mouth?

BTW, tusch - virtually every square meter of this planet was taken away from someone else at one time or another. Very, very few (if any) people on the globe are direct-line descendants of those who originally inhabited where they live. And are you going to claim the native Americans never took any land away from one another?

independant1 4 years, 9 months ago

yeah, one side of my family tree took land frm the other side therefore I should hate myself.

Lindsey Buscher 4 years, 9 months ago

Actually, it was basically a vote in favor of a single-payer health care system as it clearly demonstrates that most people do not want to be forced to purchase health insurance from a private, for-profit provider.

notajayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

Actually, I'm sure you're partly right. There were indeed some who didn't like Obamacare because it didn't go far enough. This is part of the problem I alluded to much earlier in this thread - when you push through a 2600+ page piece of garbage, there are very few people who are going to truly like it - except for the kool-aid drinkers who say things like 'It's a step in the right direction,' or 'It's the best we can do,' or 'At least we did something." The problem is that almost everyone can find something to object to in such a monstrosity. Which is why, as I have been saying since this debate started, the problem should have been addressed with smaller, well-targeted solutions instead of a huge mess that accomplishes nothing. But the Messiah wanted another 'historic' accomplishment, not a real solution.

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